|Pickford's Royal Fly-van.|
Even in central Manchester, the roads were so bad that no business person or well-to-do family kept their own carriage until Madame Drake, of Long Millgate, set up her carriage in 1758.
Turnpikes became a popular method of upgrading roads locally. The road to Stockport was probably the first in the Manchester area to be turnpiked, by the Manchester and Buxton Turnpike Trust in 1725. A quarter of a century later, however, a ‘flying coach’ still took four and a half days to reach London from Manchester.
|Last days of the Manchester Defiance.|
In 1760, Manchester got its first stagecoach service, when John Hanforth and his partners set up regular runs from London to Manchester and Liverpool to Manchester. Merchants and traders could now reach the capital in three days, ‘if God permit’. By the late 1770s, Pickford’s flying coach took two days to reach London.
And during Britain’s lengthy war with France, when news broke of the Peace of Amiens in 1802, the Defiance and Telegraph coaches brought the longed-for tidings from the capital to Manchester within twenty-four hours (usually the run took thirty hours).
But it was the Canal Age which put Manchester at the forefront of the transport revolution, as we shall see.